My three-year-old has been very into muffins lately, and asks for them frequently, seeming to have forgotten his love of pancakes which we haven’t had in a while now. He may also have realized that muffins are about as close as he can get to eating cake for breakfast. I’ve loved muffins since I was a kid, too, and what’s not to love? They’re sweet, cakey, soft, warm and crumbly, perfectly portioned (if you can eat just one), as well as quick and easy to mix up.
Last Sunday, I had been planning on updating my recipe and photos for pumpkin muffins, but I had a couple of roasted sweet potatoes leftover from dinner a few nights before, so I impulsively decided to make sweet potato muffins instead.
The way to get a really sweet, concentrated flavor in the cooked sweet potatoes is to bake or roast them whole in their skin. I like to drizzle each potato with about a teaspoon of olive oil, wrap them individually in foil, and then roast on a baking sheet for 1 1/2 hours at 425 degrees F. They have an almost caramelized flavor after roasting, and when cool enough, the peel just slips right off. Another preference of mine is to puree them smooth in a food processor, rather than hand-mashing them. Some sweet potatoes seem to be more stringy than others, and pureeing them gets rid of all those unpleasant fibers which hand-mashing can leave behind. This roasting and pureeing method is also how I prepare my sweet potatoes for my favorite side dish at Thanksgiving, the sweet potato casserole with brown sugar streusel.
Once you’ve roasted and pureed the sweet potatoes (which you can do a day or two in advance), you can quickly mix up the muffin batter. Both white and brown sugars are added, oil and milk, eggs, vanilla, and of course flour, salt and baking soda, plus all my favorite fall spices. Then there’s piles of crumb topping, which may seem like too much, but it’s not.
I made six large muffins in my jumbo muffin pan, which take much longer to bake than standard-sized muffins, but they rose spectacularly, and those huge muffins are just so pretty and tempting, like what you’d get at a bakery. The color and crumb was just beautiful. They were moist, perfectly sweetened and spiced, and tasted just like sweet potato casserole in a muffin.
Note: One large sweet potato or two small sweet potatoes will give you a cup of puree, with maybe some extra for another use. You can boil and mash the peeled sweet potato, or for a more concentrated flavor, wrap the unpeeled sweet potato in a piece of foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours at 425 degrees F. until very tender. Let cool, and then slip off the peel. Puree the flesh in a food processor. While you could hand-mash the potato, I far prefer using a food processor or Ninja; the blades do a much better job of finely mashing the potato without leaving behind any unpleasant stringy fibers, which hand-mashing can’t accomplish.
Sweet Potato Crumb Muffins
- 1 cup pureed, cooked sweet potato without the peel (see note)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a muffin pan with paper liners, and spray the liners with a little non-stick spray. This recipe makes 6 large muffins in a jumbo muffin pan, or 12 regular-sized muffins.
In a large bowl, whisk together the pureed sweet potato, white sugar, brown sugar, oil, milk, eggs and vanilla until smooth.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and use a spatula to bring the batter together just until there are no more visible streaks of flour; the batter will be fairly thick. Divide the batter evenly between the cups; they will be quite full.
For the streusel topping, stir together the melted butter, flour, sugar and nutmeg until moistened and crumbly. Heap the crumbs on top of the batter, pressing them gently into the batter. Use all the crumbs, even if it seems like too much; it’s not.
For 6 large muffins, there is so much batter in the cups that they will take a long time to bake – mine were not done until 39 minutes of baking. For 12 regular-sized muffins, I’d suggest starting to check for doneness at 20 minutes; a toothpick or cake tester should come out clean, or with moist crumbs, but not with wet batter.
Cool the muffins in the pan for five minutes, then carefully remove from the pan and cool for another 10-15 minutes on a cooling rack. Serve warm.
Yields 6 large or 12 regular muffins
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen